TPP set to revolutionise international law

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Law firms need to prepare for a consistent approach to market regulation brought on by the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement between 12 countries around the Pacific Rim is set to create a new market worth nearly US$28tn and covering nearly 40 percent of world GDP, with further countries expressing interest in signing following the treaty’s finalisation.

Donald Robertson, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills said the free trade agreement is likely to have a significant impact across the energy, telecommunications and media, consumer products, mining, infrastructure and mining, financial services and pharmaceuticals sectors.

“The agreement is expected to introduce high-level measures like investment protection mechanisms, as well as detailed, sector-specific reforms, such as harmonising regulation directed at e-commerce and customs regulations relating to agricultural products,” he said.

“The reductions in barriers to trade in goods and services will open up significant new markets that will be necessary for the future health of the Australian economy.”

According to Robertson, lawyers will need to upskill themselves in foreign regulations, with clients involved in cross border trade likely to require further specialist advice.

“Lawyers need to open their minds to new sources of law that govern cross-border trades – both national and international law are important sources of law,” he said.

“Initially, there will be a need for advice on the new regulatory environment in which clients will operate.”

Australia is likely to benefit from an increase in the number of trading partners, predicted Robertson.

“The TPP will make Australia a more open economy and we hope to see greater flows of investment capital. The TPP opens our minds to a new perspective of what is our natural marketplace.  South America, in particular, is now a new source of capital and a trading partner,” he said.

“Overall, the TPP seeks regulatory coherence across all the nation states in the pact.”

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